From energy savings to poached eggs…CR surges ahead at Capita

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Ricky Alfred 7th November 2016 3 minute read

From energy savings to poached eggs…CR surges ahead at Capita

“The pace at which it has developed, even in the last 12 months, has been pretty fast… and Capita already does a lot that I don’t think people know about."

Ricky Alfred is Head of Corporate Responsibility at Capita Customer Management and joined us in early 2015 with a decade of experience in the field. As a consultant he’s previously helped businesses from 12 strong to 25,000 strong plan and enact their CSR programmes.

We asked him what gets him excited about his chosen vocation and where he believes Capita can take this increasingly important element of 21st century enterprise.

“Do I believe the phrase that a business can be a force for good? Absolutely. Do I think we’re there yet? No but we are making good strides towards it and I came into CSR with the belief that we can always do more for our people and our communities.

“Managing our resources in terms of our people, our environmental resources and our economic resources - that triple bottom line - is hugely important for any business and Capita are seeing the value in that more and more. It’s moved from being something that's a nice to have to actually, if we do this right, we will get a lot out of it for the business".

“The pace at which it has developed, even in the last 12 months, has been pretty fast. There’s a Capita Group approach to CR, which is now well established, and our own Capita Customer Management divisional approach that I’m more closely involved with. As a sign of how importantly the division takes it, I’m not part of another team; I report directly to a board member. I think that shows there is a real high-level appetite for the concept and what it can do to shape the direction the business is going to take - perhaps more so than people realise". 

“One of my personal objectives is to raise the understanding of what CR is. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the term itself… it’s a convenient shorthand but people often don’t understand everything it is and can be. They get the environmental aspect or the charity aspect but there is so much more to it than that.

“For example being a responsible business is also about looking after your people, their health and wellbeing. It can be about the basket of benefits an individual receives at companies. It can be about our values, about how we engage with customers, our transparency, or specific issues such as are we dealing with SMEs in the right way or putting up barriers to how they can work with us because of complex legal obligations within our contracts?

“There can be big CR projects, such as the Capita group’s target to reduce our energy use by 10% in 2016, environmental projects that call for a lot of investment but which people often don’t see, such as changing our air conditioning chillers to be more efficient, down to really small details like gently suggesting to people in our restaurants that maybe they might like to try a poached egg instead of a fried egg because it’s that bit healthier…

“And Capita already does a lot that I don’t think people know about - such as the fact that we’ve raised more than half a million pounds for The Prince’s Trust in the last 18 months.

“So this year we want to be a lot more proactive in telling people what we’re doing, and one of the major steps in that will be having a brand for our responsible business approach. The launch of that branded programme will help people understand what CR is and how closely committed to it Capita is as well as enabling us to bring the subject to life for our people and our customers. 

“We’ve got lots of projects planned right the way through the year, from car sharing to cultural diversity, so watch out for these reports and I’ll tell you more about them as they’re launched.”

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